I sit on a bench for a brief moment to look around to take it all in. My heart is racing, most likely due to the fact that I ran here, but I’d like to give a little credit to the idea that maybe at this point in time… I’m connected. I’m in Japan at a park in total peace. I am in the present.
I look to my right and just across the way is a group of 7 elderly Japanese people. 5 are looking directly at me with no expression and the other 2 seem concentrated in what appears to be a deep conversation. Next to them is a young boy in a bright blue helmet, that matches his royal blue bike. Attached are training wheels proudly boasting blue shiny wheels. Where are his parents? Probably watching him do the same tiny circular loop that Ive been observing.
My focus is broke by the sound of a chain as the gears shift on the bicycle passing. I nod with a smile at the middle aged man as he floats by. The ever so slight lift of his mouth and wrinkle next to his eye is a polite acknowledgment. I feel my smile broaden.
I watch as he rides past the baseball diamond where there’s a teenage girl practicing a fierce underarm pitch. She’s strong. Behind her is a young boy too far for me to make out an age, but I would guess no older than 12. He seems completely content with each toss of his baseball, straight up and back down to his glove, over and over again. I remember doing that as a child.
I peer back to find that now, all 7 of the older crowd is looking at me. I try to feel out their mood, I’ve got nothing.
Little boy blue is still circling round and around.
It rained this morning so the ground is wet but the sun is out now and the breeze is nice. I begin to be conscious of my body. The bench is cold and I wonder if I’ll have a wet bum when I stand up. Both feet are flat on the ground, my back is straight yet shoulders are relaxed. Although I’m gazing around, my head stays generally still. I must look awkward. No wonder the older concerned group is still staring at me.
Passing the boy in blue comes a father and daughter on foot. The oversized green bows in her hair perfectly match the dainty flowers on her white sundress. The top of her head barely reaches his waist where their hands meet. He doesn’t show much emotion as she jumps from block to block in the pathway, jerking his arm in every direction. Clearly tired of the restriction and probably a relief to dad, she lets go of his hand and continues her game of leaping squares. The bows raise and flop down with every jump.
Something catches her eye.
I follow the excitement in her vision to find a plump woman in heeled wedges holding the leash of a tiny, well groomed dog that looks as if he is attempting to prance his way to a first prize finish. I smile with entertained eyes as the woman stops, puts both feet together and stands with a strong posture… almost to match the pride exuding from her little paw baby. We make eye contact, she smiles and I nod to return the greeting.
I almost miss the adorable school aged girls passing by. I’m distracted by blue boy who is still doing laps on what you’d think is the smallest circular track around. He’s so happy.
The giggling bunch of girls skip by with knee high socks, plaid skirts, white collared shirts and cartoon backpacks. Today is Sunday, I wonder where they’re going.
My attention returns to the wind on my face and the chilly bench which I have now confirmed is most definitely going to leave me with a reminder that it rained today.
I feel calm. My heart rate has slowed back to normal and I sense it’s time to continue my journey.
Unless there is a bizarre scene directly behind me, the lovely bunch of elderly folks are still focused in my direction. I should be going now. I stand with a grin and give a slight bow in respect to the 7 onlookers.
Leaving the park, I giggle to myself as I pass the little boy in blue.